Thursday, April 26, 2007

Trudy Has the Sweet Blood

The other day Trudy left voicemail messages on both my home and cell phones. Her voice sounded all sing-songy and Up-with-People-perky ("Hi, Mar! It's your mother! Give me a ca-all! I need to talk to you-oo! Bye-by-ee!"), so I decided to give her a ring. That way, I feel less guilty about the many maudlin-toned messages I ignore. ("Mary. Call your mother. Goodbye." Sometimes she'll even sigh heavily into the receiver, for good measure.) If I fail to reply to too many tragi-calls in a row, when I finally do speak to her I get, "Oh. Mary Patricia. I forgot about you." I am returning this call because it sounds like she is in a good mood. It will probably be fairly painless. Also, I won't be the daughter who never calls. I will have stored credit.

So, I phone her up. Even though Trudy has caller ID, she always acts like she's surprised it's me on the line. I don't know why it annoys me, but it does. I guess I consider it to be the first lie of the conversation. I ask her what's going on, and in her bravest Douglas-Sirk-heroine intonation she reveals, "Well,... I have... Diabetes."

Me: (Suspiciously) "Wow, Mom, I'm sorry."

Trudy: "The doctor said I don't have to tell anyone if i don't want to. He says when you are... A Diabetic... people will treat you differently."

Oh boy, is Trudy thrilled with the idea of having diabetes. It may just trump Alzheimer's.

Me: "Really? Differently how?"

Trudy: "He's the top, top diabetes doctor. He's very famous. Luckily, he caught The Diabetes early because I have my blood tested every 16 weeks."

Here it becomes important to know that for the past few years, Trudy has had some difficulty maintaining her girlish figure. I'm guessing it's her age (74), the estrogen she is still prescribed, her sedentary lifestyle, and the massive amount of candy she consumes. However, I'm not a medical professional.

Somehow, Trudy sees her weight gain as outside of her control. And it makes her pretty grumpy. A few weeks ago, my sister was in town and so she stopped in to visit my parents, who hadn't seen her in months. She greeted John and he said, "You look like you've lost weight. You're too skinny, kid." My sister, who is thin, protested. "No, John, I've gained weight. I'm fat." John, argued, "No, you're skinny." But Trudy defended Karla, insisting, "No, John. She's right. She's fat."

Knowing that for her 5'2 frame Trudy is a little to the right of rubenesque, and knowing a little something about diabetes, I ask her what kind she has.

Trudy: "Type 2."

Me: "So, you don't have to take insulin, right?"

Trudy: "No, that's Type 1. But he is prescribing some pills (!!!). I'll have to make my way to the pharmacy to pick them up."

Me: "Is he putting you on a diet?"

Trudy: "Yes, the doctor says the South Beach diet is very good for...Diabetics. I told him that for the past few years I have had the hardest time dieting. I just can't stop craving chocolate, and he tells me that's part of it."

Me; "Part of..."

Trudy: "He also said I should inform the children because you should all be tested. He said diabetes is very hereditary."

Me: "Really? I thought Type 2 diabetes was caused by poor diet and lack of exercise."

Trudy: "And, apple-shaped women are more prone to diabetes. You know, women who carry their weight around their middle."

Me: (From between gritted teeth) "But I'm not apple-shaped, Mom."

Trudy: "I know. You're lucky... Pear-shaped women don't get it as often."

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